“All persons associated with the NFL are required to avoid ‘conduct detrimental to the integrity of and public confidence in the National Football League.’ This requirement applies to players, coaches, other team employees, owners, game officials, and all others privileged to work in the National Football League.”
Those are the opening remarks in the National Football League’s Code of Conduct policy, which reaches all players, coaches, and employees under the league’s control.
The policy has been somewhat controversial in nature because its reach can touch anything from criminal offenses to drug use, but in the past, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has been accused of overstepping the bounds of the rule because players have been suspended or fined without ever actually being convicted of anything in a court of law.
Still, the iron hand that rules the NFL seems to keep things in check for the most part, and while players are still going to make mistakes, get arrested, or even get busted for drugs, the penalties that go along with those infractions are known well ahead of time.
With the recent arrests of both UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, as well as former Ultimate Fighter winner Ross Pearson, on charges of driving under the influence, and now with Octagon girl Arianny Celeste facing domestic violence charges, the question has to be raised: is it time for the UFC to institute a similar code of conduct policy?
According to UFC president Dana White, the promotion has no plans of doing that because they want to handle things on a case-by-case basis and deal with each situation individually.
“No, I’m going to take it as it comes. I hear this stuff all the time and it seems like a lot lately. This isn’t the NFL, this isn’t the NBA, this is a completely different business, completely different business model, and we deal with these guys, we care about these guys,” White told MMAWeekly.com.
“I don’t want our fighters at the end of their career to be broke and to not have paid their taxes, and don’t do this, and don’t do that. Then you guys look at the whole PED (performance enhancing drugs) side of this, and all these things going on, and then you at guys getting in trouble. There’s just so much that goes on.”
White points out that there’s a lot more that goes on behind the scenes than what’s actually viewed in the public eye, which would seem like an even bigger reason for some sort of code of conduct policy, but the UFC president says it’s not on their agenda.
When it comes to the use of performance enhancing drugs, the UFC has started to implement some of their own testing on top of already testing athletes prior to allowing them to sign with the promotion, as well as testing all of the fighters going onto the Ultimate Fighter reality show.
As far as legal entanglements, White says they will continue to look at each case individually and deal with the fighters personally without a blanket rule governing them all.
“We’re dealing with human beings and I don’t even know how you could do that. What, if you say this, this happens? You take it case by case and you deal with it as it should be dealt with, but the other thing that’s different for us is we’re regulated by the government, too. So it’s a completely different business model than any other sport,” said White.
Obviously if legal issues for fighters continue to hit the press, it’s only a matter of time before the UFC is forced to make an example out of somebody, but it won’t be because a code of conduct policy has been instituted.